Posted on November 8, 2020

What Money Says When Money Talks

Emmy Tekisui, American Renaissance, November 8, 2020

I am a bill collector for one of the ten largest banks in North America. These aren’t the best of times, and people have been laid off. Many are selling their homes and down-sizing just to stay above water. My work means talking with every kind of person who has gotten behind on his payments, and it is human nature to spot patterns. Here are a few I have noticed.

Women, especially women under the age of 30, generally have a higher delinquency rate and much higher debt balances than their male counterparts. In general, North American women, regardless of ethnicity, are more likely than men to:

  • Owe money to more than one institution and have higher delinquency rates.
  • Be out shopping, discover they can’t use a credit card because they are maxed out, and phone in to ask for an increase in their credit line.
  • Get upset while discussing their sizable debt and their options for repayment.
  • Want to chat about other things for a really, really long time. Why they would want to prop their feet up, get comfortable, and talk interminably with a bill collector is beyond me.
  • Have a male attached to the debt as an authorized user and dismiss the balance as “his responsibility.” It makes no difference if few if any of the purchases on the account have been made by a man.
  • Shop around for lower interest rates.

Shopping for rates is a sign that someone does not understand the way credit works. Many people fall for an offer to transfer their credit balances at a promotional interest rate of zero percent. Unfortunately, the zero percent rate is the carrot to lure you over the dotted legal line. Once you sign, you are now legally tied to what can become a Sisyphean financial treadmill. There will be sudden, “unanticipated” hikes in the rate. If you slip up even once, the rate goes even higher. You can then get hefty monthly charges for being over your limit. Eventually, you discover something called the “right of off-set,” which means the bank can repay itself by taking money right out of any account you own. Again, women are more likely than men to transfer their balances in the hope of getting a “low promotional rate.”

What about men? Men with another authorized user attached — usually a wife or girlfriend — have higher delinquency rates and are often well over their limit. They are also more likely to be caught unawares by sudden hikes in rates and unexpected monthly fees. I don’t think I will ever hear these words: “I am in charge of making the money and my husband is in charge of spending it.”

In general, North American men, regardless of ethnicity, are more likely than women to:

  • Spot excessive consumption patterns and try to control them.
  • Promise to deal with their delinquency as soon as possible and are less likely than women to break that promise.
  • Try to end the meeting or the conversation as quickly and as politely as possible. In short, they are businesslike.
  • Make economic and financial forecasts.
  • Inquire politely about my ethnicity (Hey, you’re not from around here are you?). Women, despite being much chattier, seldom ask. In a word, men are more “ethno-curious.”

Despite what I wrote earlier, some men also shop around for “low introductory rates” and end up on the financial treadmill just like women.

What about different ethnic groups? As an African, I take no joy in writing this, but most Africans, besides having high balances, aren’t even interested in discussing solutions. They aren’t rude; they just seem less concerned about solving their problems even if they are facing bankruptcy. They show little or no interest in weighing the different options for discharging the debt, and don’t want to listen to advice. In a word, they are less financially responsible. Because they aren’t interested in solutions, meetings and conversations with Africans are over quickly.

Certain Asians groups, particularly the Japanese and the Chinese, are seldom delinquent and detest being so. They seem more aware of the true nature of the financial treadmill. Asians tend to congregate in the same parts of the same towns. They stick together, and it is not unusual to see almost a dozen names on just one mortgage. It seems clear to me that their tribal loyalty plays some role in their financial stability.

Indian, Pakistani, and Moroccan men have a curious tendency to try to make things personal, and to manipulate the situation to cast themselves as innocent victims. This worn-out ploy is a way to ask for preferential treatment. Nevertheless, some are indistinguishable from Japanese and Chinese men.

Businessmen in farming, fishing, shipping, etc. tend to carry high balances which, remarkably, they pay off as soon as they can. They seem to despise debt (and banks) and try to stay as independent as possible. They are a small minority of the present generation, but they are doing their utmost to stay off the financial treadmill.

One thing I have learned over the years is how easy it is to get on that treadmill. It may take a hard sell to get struggling families to spend 25 to 30 percent of their incomes on our treadmill, but once we have lured them on, so long as we hike up the speed bit by bit, many people become surprisingly comfortable with perpetual debt. This can be true regardless of age, sex, or race.

Over time, people grow fond of indulging every whim with a few swipes and taps – even if it leads to a virtual form of debtors’ prison. People are different, and they show their differences in various ways. As Henry Ford explained: “Money doesn’t change men. It merely unmasks them. If a man is naturally selfish, or arrogant, or greedy, the money brings it out; that’s all.”